College Commitments: Penncrest’s Zubieta chooses Monmouth

Diego Zubieta became the second Penncrest Lion to give his verbal declaration prior to his senior season.

Zubieta committed to Monmouth University Sunday afternoon. The team’s official Twitter account (@PHSLionfootball) announced the news on the social media platform.

Zubieta enjoyed a breakout season as a junior and is one of the top returning players at his position in 2014. Zubieta and the Lions are hoping to build upon a successful 7-3 campaign last fall.

Penncrest lineman Jonah Jackson verbaled to Rutgers in June.

Season Outlook: Ridley aims for bounce-back year

Coach: Dennis Decker (sixth season)

2013 Record: 6-5 (5-4 Central League)

2013 In Two Sentences: The Green Raiders fell short of a District One Class AAAA playoff berth and were shut out at Phil Marion Field by Interboro on Thanksgiving. The team posted the program’s lowest win total since 1972, when the Green Raiders went 5-2-3 (h/t Ridleyraidersfootball.com).

Key Departures: Colin Wright (QB), Malcolm Strand-Young (RB), Jabree Savoy (DB).

Looking Ahead:  With only five returning starters from last year, the Green Raiders are not exactly favorite to take back the

Dennis Decker begins his sixth season as Ridley head coach.

Central League title. However, they’re better suited to win this season compared to 2013.

Ridley’s biggest bugaboo last fall was its undersized and inexperienced offensive line. While only one starter returns, there is a belief the unit will make great strides under second-year line coach Mike Bonner.

As for quarterback, that was up in the air. Colin Wright had a couple nice years as the Ridley signal caller. The skill positions will be occupied by newcomers.

Longtime defensive coordinator Ralph Batty retired after last season and is replaced by Jeff Hamson, who spent the last seven years in the same role at Bishop Shanahan.

It’s sounds strange to say that Ridley could surprise some people, but that could be the case.

Players to Watch: Mike Cropper had a fine 2013 season on the defensive line and has the ability to be a tremendous d-end with pass-rushing prowess.

Ryan Dougherty is a second-year starter at linebacker and Pat Najmola is the lone returning starter on the offensive line.

Tre Hinchey and Jake Hoffman, both seniors, were battling it out for the coveted starting QB position.

Coach’s Corner: “It’s a whole different group of kids, a different type of leadership,” Decker said. “When we started in January, the focus and intensity has been there and most of all the commitment has been there from the kids. That’s what we want to see every time they step in here and put on a Ridley uniform.”

Season Opener: Away vs. Glen Mills, Friday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.

Season Outlook: Interboro poised to reclaim Del Val title

Coach: Steve Lennox (22nd year)

2013 Record: 6-5 (3-2 Del Val League)

2013 In Two Sentences: The Bucs unsuccessfully defended their District One Class AAA title, losing to eventual champs Academy Park in the quarterfinal round. Bright spots included a dominating 12-0 blanking of Ridley on Thanksgiving morning, and the emergence of some junior (now senior) talents.

Key Departures: Sonny Armstrong (RB-LB), John Bellano (DL), Matt Gould (OL-DL), Eric Owens (RB-DE), Steve Phillips (RB-DB), Miguel Quinones (DL), 

Looking Ahead: The Bucs have a solid core of returning seniors and enough exciting talent in the junior class to make them a threat in the Del Val League once again. The Bucs pride themselves on being a tough, hard-nosed football team, and this season is no different.

The Bucs are motivated by the success of last year’s District One Class AAA finalists, Glen Mills and Academy Park. They think they have what it takes to get back to the top.

Players to Watch: Senior Sean Menold is the quarterback. Menold is a “smart kid (who) makes good decisions,” according to Lennox. Juniors Shaun Douglas and Chris Hummel will share running back duties. The offensive line includes seniors Christian Brady (center), Jeremiah Dellipriscoli (guard) and Jason Miksit (guard), all of whom saw starting time a year ago.

Senior wide receivers Mark Everton, Naim Bey, Blake Dalessio give Menold plenty of options in the passing game. On defense, senior Mike O’Chuida and Danny Mea are the top linebackers.

Coach’s Corner: “It’s still fun to me because the kids give me everything they got.  As a coach, that’s all you can ask for. Some years you’ll have a little more talent and a little more speed… but it just seems like a constant for us has been the physical play of our kids. We, as coaches, expect it of them every year, too.”

Season Opener: Away vs. Springfield, Friday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.

Daily Times HS Football Preview Info

The Daily Times got a jumpstart on the football season with our first digital-only HS football preview on Gametimepa.com. There is a player to watch list, 2013 recaps, brief team previews, plus other goodies! It’s a work in progress, but it should wet your appetite for now.

COMING AUG. 29 … The annual Daily Times HS Football Preview section, which includes articles on all 22 teams in Delco.

In addition, our cover story will feature Chris Gicking coming back to Marple Newtown and his vision for the program. Gicking was the 1995 Daily Times Player of the Year and is the county’s record holder in career passing yardage.

Keep checking back on Delcofootball.com for more updates leading up to opening night! In the meantime, we’ll be hard at work to give you the most thorough and comprehensive football preview package possible!

Season Outlook: Chichester looks to take another step forward

Coach: Ryan Smith (fifth year)

2013 Record: (5-7, 2-3 Del Val)

2013 In Two Sentences: Chichester lost five straight contests after a 2-0 start, but a late surge brought them back into contention for a District One Class AAA postseason berth on the final weekend of the regular season. While the Eagles fell short of the playoffs, the strong finish is something to build upon going into the 2014 campaign.

Key Departures: Duffy Gilhool (QB-DB), Tamein Jackson (ATH), Trey Anderson (RB), DeJuan Santana (RB).

Looking Ahead: First and foremost, Smith is tasked with finding his team’s permanent new quarterback after the departure of Gilhool, who graduated as the program’s all-time passing leader, ranked 14th all-time in Delco with 3,892 yards. Gilhool was a multi-purpose player, as he rarely came off the field, playing safety and punting in addition to his duties as team captain and QB.

Although there are a lot of holes to fill,  Smith sees a nucleus that is capable of

Chichester senior guard/linebacker Isaiah Bobo

continuing the slow, upward trend back to contention. In a Del Val that could be up for grabs this season, the Eagles could be a darkhorse if things break right. With a winnable nonleague slate, it’s certainly conceivable to think the Eagles can begin the season 4-0 before the Del Val schedule kicks into gear Oct. 3.

Players to Watch: Colin McAllister is a difference maker.. At 6-2, 290 pounds, the senior is once again the anchor of both lines. One of DelcoFootball.com’s Players to Watch, McAllister will start at center and defensive tackle.

Seniors Dan Sullivan (TE-FB-LB) and Isaiah Bobo (G-LB), and junior Kevin Miller (RB-LB), all played important roles and made solid progression in 2013. Other key returnees include senior Pelle Forman (WR-CB) and junior John Lawrence (RB-WR-CB).

Senior Greg Mills (6-1, 185) is the new man under center.

Coach’s Corner: “We have a lot of players who will be getting their first taste at varsity football this year.  With that said, our off-season strength and speed numbers make me very pleased with this group.  We have a strong group of kids with a substantial amount of team speed.  We will have a challenging schedule that will make us compete for every first down.  Our players are prepared for the competition and I am looking forward to the season ahead.”

Season Opener: Home vs. Lower Merion, Friday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.

 

 

Season Outlook: New coach envisions big things for Chester

Coach: Tony Beaty (first year).

2013 Record: 2-8 (1-4 Del Val)

2013 In Two Sentences: Chester couldn’t do anything productive on offense as it scored six or fewer points in six of its 10 games. In the end, the Chester Upland School District decided to go in a different direction and relieve Chuck Crews of his duties after four losing seasons.

Key Departures: Dahqui Green (OL-DL), Jabre Nicholson (WR-LB), Jabre’e Spencer (OL-DL)

Looking Ahead: After a tumultuous last couple of seasons, including the very real threat of the program folding altogether, Beaty brings renewed interest and excitement to Clippers football.

The new boss  was a standout football player at South Philadelphia High in the 1980s and recruited by Penn State. Because of a serious arm injury, though, Beaty passed up a scholarship opportunity to join the Army. He eventually played football professionally in the arena leagues. Once his playing days were over, he became a full-time trainer and was the head coach at Prep Charter.

Junior Ed Nelson Jr and senior Hasson “Peaty” Bush  are the team’s top skill players. Junior Kquran Williams was the team leader in tackles last year at defensive end, while junior D’Andre Dill is the Clippers’ best returning two-way lineman. Bush is a big threat in the return game and  had two interceptions last fall.

Coach’s Corner: “I bring discipline, fundamentals and ‘ swag’. That is what I teach and what I expect from my players. If you don’t play with swag, or the confidence especially, you’re not going to win. I’m a very structured coach. When you see us practice, our practices are very fast and very physical. We don’t take anything lightly…

“Our job is to create more offense. You’ll see that we are fast — like Chip Kelly fast. That’s going to help us in the long run against teams who haven’t seen us. I promise, (the quality of Chester football) is going to be a lot different.:”

Season Opener: Home vs. W.C. Henderson, Saturday, Aug. 30, 10:30 a.m.

Season Outlook: Marple Newtown starts new era with Gicking

Coach: Chris Gicking (first year)

2013 Record: 3-7 (3-6 Central League)

2013 In Two Sentences: After a two-overtime win over Strath Haven in Week 2, the Tigers dropped their next three Central League decisions and never recovered. The Tigers would go through another losing season, their third since 2010.

Key Departures: A.J. Cunningham (LB), Nik Rhoads (WR), Markos Katrakazis (OL/DL), Zach Falcone (OL/DOL).

Looking Ahead: Gicking spent the last 13 years as an assistant at Conestoga for John Vogan, helping the Pioneers win two Central League championships, before coming home to his alma mater in March and becoming a head coach for the first time.

Chris Gicking, who has owned the Delco career passing record since 1995, returns to his alma mater. (Photo credit: Marplenewtownfootball.com)

The 1995 Daily Times Player of the Year and star quarterback is the county’s all-time leader in career passing yardage, a record that may never be broken. Gicking takes over a for Ray Gionta, Marple Newtown’s all-time wins leader, who stepped down in February to take the Sun Valley position.

Though growing pains are certainly expected, Gicking is the right guy to lead MN back to its old, winning form.

Players to Watch:  The running back position looks to be a big strength. Junior Abel Hoff and senior Adrian Sapnas are a potentially very dangerous duo.  While he was limited to only six games a year ago, Sapnas rushed for 769 yards and seven TDs. Meanwhile, Hoff posted 649 yards and five scores.

First-year starting quarterback Marcus Weathers saw some playing time on varsity last year. The junior completed 11 of 25 pass attempts for no TDs and two interceptions.

Juniors Kyle Kelly (OL/DL) and Matt Mckee (OL/LB) are other returning starters. Top newcomers include senior Lucas Maas (WR/DB), Adriel Maas (RB/LB) and Vince Ciavardelli (OL/DL), as well as juniors Noah Turner (TE/DE) and Gino Dicamillo (LB/RB).

Coach’s Corner:  “We are looking to compete in every game and get better as the season goes on. The kids and coaches have worked very hard so far.”

Season Opener:: Away vs. Academy Park, Friday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.

 

 

Season Outlook: Haverford School is poised to repeat

Coach: Michael Murphy (10th season)

2013 Record: 6-5 (4-1 Inter-Ac League)

2013 In Two Sentences: It was a tale of two seasons for the Fords. After dropping decisions in four of their first six games, the Fords reeled off four wins in their final five contests en route to capturing a share of the Inter-Ac League title.

Key Departures: Brendan Burke (QB-DB), Christian Giubilato (WR-DB), Michael Solomon (WR-DB).

It’s hard arguing against Phil Poquie being the top running back in 2014. Injuries have sidetracked him the last two seasons, but when on his game, he’s an explosive rusher.

Looking Ahead: One of Murphy’s biggest concerns is at quarterback, where Kevin Carter will begin his first season as the starter. While Carter saw seldom playing
time last fall, this is his first real chance to grasp the No. 1 spot on the depth chart and take over for Brendan Burke, who was extremely effective in the second half of 2013.

The Fords have a slew of returning players, some of whom are receiving interest from several FCS programs. Eight full-time starters from last year’s lineup are back in the fold. It’s that experience, knowledge and leadership from his core players that gives Murphy plenty of reason for optimism heading into 2014.

Players to Watch: In addition to Carter, who has the chance to be an electrifying dual threat under center, the Fords will lean heavily on the talents of senior running-back Phil Poquie (5-9, 185), who is built like a rock and runs like a deer. When healthy, Poquie is an explosive talent, and he might just be the top returning RB in the county.

Chauncey Simmons  (6-4, 315) is the team’s best returning lineman, and wide receiver Derek Mountain is an explosive athlete. LJ Barlow (6-3, 215), a two-time Daily Times Wrestler of the Year, excels at linebacker and Dox Aitken (6-4, 190) is a dangerous two-way threat as a wide receiver and free safety. All of these players were vital members of last year’s team that won an Inter-Ac title.

Coach’s Corner: “We expect to be a competitive football team. We have a difficult non-league schedule that we hope will prepare us to compete for an Inter-Ac title, in what should be a balanced and difficult league. We feel that the strengths of this team are that we have depth and experience returning at many positions, with some guys that can change the outcome of a game quickly. The key to the success of this team will be how quickly the offensive line can come together and gel. As always, we will need solid play from our QB. If we can get those things together, I think that we can have a very solid season.”

Season Opener: Away vs. West Catholic, at Wildwood, N.J., Saturday, Aug. 30, Noon.